Modern intensive poultry production has achieved phenomenal gains in the efficient and economical production of high quality and safe chicken meat, eggs and poultry bioproducts. At the same time as making gains in production and efficiency, the industry has had to maximise the health and well-being of the birds and minimise the impact of the industry on the environment. The use of feed additives has been an important part of achieving this success.
Defining a feed additive
The diet of animals and humans contain a wide variety of additives. However, in poultry diets these additives are primarily included to improve the efficiency of the bird’s growth and/or laying capacity, prevent disease and improve feed utilisation. Any additives used in feed must be approved for use and then used as directed with respect to inclusion levels and duration of feeding. They are also specific for the type and age of birds being fed. These guidelines are maintained by a government committee (Product Safety and Integrity; Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry).